'Thinking the Unthinkable' is the result of ten years of sporadic research, involving many visits to the former German Democratic Republic by a small Anglo/German team of military specialists. Their purpose was to explore the lives of RAF and East German fighter and fighter-bomber pilots, in the air and on the ground, at work and play, during the Cold War in North Germany. The book is based largely on personal testimony from these pilots, coupled with facts drawn from official archives and comment from other historical sources. Where possible, political considerations have been avoided and no outright criticism has been intended, readers being left to draw their own conclusions on the thinking, strategies, equipment and tactics discussed. Far from being an intellectual polemic on the Cold War, the text and photographs merely record a slice of history as seen through the eyes of a select few who took up arms in the defence of their respective homelands - and faced each other daily across the Iron Curtain. Nigel Walpole passed out from the Royal Air Force College Cranwell in 1954, and joined No.26 (Day Fighter) Squadron, flying Hunter F.4s on the front line in Germany at RAF Oldenburg. In 1957 he converted to the Swift FR.5, on No.79 (Fighter Reconnaissance) Squadron, and in 1959 began an exchange posting with the USAF at Shaw AFB, South Carolina, flying RF-101 Voodoos in the tactical reconnaissance role. On return to the UK in 1961, he was posted to the Central Fighter Establishment, where he was promoted to squadron leader and given command of No.234 Squadron, equipped with Hunter F.6 and Hunter DFGA 9 aircraft. He returned to Germany in 1965, to command No.2 Squadron, flying Hunter FR.10s committed to armed reconnaissance. This was followed by two years on the Fighter Command Tactical Evaluation team, before promotion to wing commander and an appointment to 16 Parachute Brigade, as the Brigade Air Support Officer (BASO) - this giving him a good perspective of the British Army's use of air power. Staff training at the National Defence College followed a short spell in command of No.12 Squadron, operating overland and maritime strike/attack Buccaneers, followed by a staff appointment at the MOD in London, before he returned to the front line in Germany as Officer Commanding Strike Wing, flying Jaguar GR.1s at RAF Brüggen. Promoted to group captain, he ended his military career in 1988 with four years as Assistant Chief of Staff (Offensive) in the NATO HQ at Rheindahlen, Germany. He then joined British Aerospace as its air weapons advisor, before retiring to take a university degree, and thereafter to write a series of books and articles on the Cold War - as seen from the flight line. He now lives with his Dutch-born wife in Suffolk, UK.
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Book Description Astonbridge Publishing, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: Used: Good. Bookseller Inventory # SONG095379332X